JERUSALEM, June 27 (UPI) -- Israeli military forces were told Monday to be firm in blocking a Gaza-bound flotilla while exercising restraint to avoid injuries, Israeli leaders said.
Senior government ministers also instructed the Foreign Ministry to work on the diplomatic front to prevent the flotilla from setting sail to Gaza, Haaretz reported.
Reports indicate 10 ships plan to set sail Tuesday to breach Israel's blockade of Gaza. Israeli government and military officials said they hope the ships will stop voluntarily, avoiding the possibility that Israeli naval forces will have to board them.
Monday was the second day senior ministers in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Cabinet discussed the planned Gaza flotilla. Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday Israel would not allow any ships to break through its maritime blockade of Gaza.
Israeli security officials and Foreign Ministry representatives told government leaders Sunday Israel has no information indicating terrorists or anyone affiliated with a terror organization planned to participate in the flotilla, a government source told Haaretz. However, the Cabinet was warned of possible clashes between Israeli forces and some Arab activists aboard the ships.
Flotilla organizers said a number of the vessels -- including the U.S. ship The Audacity of Hope -- are expected to leave Greece and rendezvous with other ships that have already set sail from France and Ireland in the Mediterranean Sea, The Jerusalem Post reported. Vessels from Italy, Spain and Canada are also participating.
Flotilla organizers were told if they dock in Ashdod, Israel, the humanitarian aid would be taken to Gaza, a government source in Jerusalem said.
Israeli officials said Egypt's interim government also agreed to allow the ships to unload goods in El Arish, from where they would be sent to Gaza, Haaretz said.